Staff and Board Bios

Our Board

Tim S. Benjamin

Bio coming soon.

John Clark, LICSW, MSSW

John Clark worked as a clinical social worker for more than 30 years, both with people with physical and developmental disabilities and the general population.  His professional experience includes residential and agency settings as well as private practice. Clark’s passion is “Just Therapy” and the role of storytelling in psychotherapy.  His life experience with cerebral palsy helped inform his practice and the values by which he tries to live his life. Clark earned a Masters of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  His BS in psychology is from Southwest State University, Marshall, Minnesota with minors in history and political science.

He served on the Mayors’ (Minneapolis) Advisory board for Disability, the TAAC transportation advisory board for the Metropolitan Council and is a graduate of the Program in Policymaking at the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disability. Clark enjoys keeping in touch with friends, listening to music from a variety of genres, and reads extensively in areas of history and public policy. Clark grew up in Cumberland, Wisconsin.  He lives in Inver Grove Heights with his wife of 27 years, Marilyn.

Adrienne Coatley

Bio coming soon.

Mark Daly

Mark believes that storytelling is everything. His passion is inspiring others to lead their happiest, healthiest lives by shining a light on the those who have overcome challenges and who now enjoy the many benefits of an active lifestyle.

Prior to his career as a PR professional at Anytime Fitness and Life Time Inc., he worked as an investigative reporter for KARE-TV, the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis, for nearly 20 years. Mark’s journalistic honors include the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, multiple IRE Awards from the Investigative Reporters and Editors Association, numerous regional Emmy Awards, and a New York Film Festival Award.

Brendan Downes

Brendon’s parents learned he would be born with Spina Bifida several months before he arrived. They were sometimes overwhelmed with all they needed to learn. Finding helpful, consistent guidance in this process from both professionals and peers helped them immensely. Becoming a source of guidance has now become one of Brendan’s biggest passions, which aligns perfectly with the mission of Access Press. He is thrilled to have the ability to contribute to the advancement of acceptance and possibilities of people with disabilities.

Growing up in Minnesota Brendan has undergone numerous surgeries over the years, but he also has experienced a very rich life.  He began playing wheelchair basketball at age 12, through Courage Center in Golden Valley, and traveled all over the U.S. competing.  He also earned the chance to play for the U.S. Under-19 Juniors team in Australia twice.  He was awarded a full athletic scholarship to play for the University of Arizona, where he earned his BA degree, and then was recruited for his final year of eligibility to the University of Missouri, where he completed a master’s degree and met his wife, Molly.

Being born with a disability led to many other opportunities, such as handcycling in the Houston Marathon and the UNESCO marathon in Venice, Italy.  Brendan was scuba-certified and traveled to the Cayman Islands to enjoy this.  He love sports of all kinds and still competes in several, including wheelchair basketball, football and softball.  I am proud to be part of the U.S. Wheelchair Softball team and we have traveled to Japan several times to compete.

He currently resides in Lakeville with Molly and two amazing daughters.

Catherine Hunter

Bio coming soon.

Jane Larson

Bio coming soon.

Kay Willshire

Kay is a Minnesota native, raised in rural Redwood County, graduating from Redwood Falls High School and attending the University of Minnesota, Morris. Academic life was great, but two years on that flat prairie was enough and she transferred to the U of MN, Minneapolis. She finished up at Saint Catherine University with a B.S. in communications.

Her first job was selling classified ads at the Star Tribune; then she became a news assistant in the Tribune newsroom and editorial page. After one of the editorial writers left to become Communications Director at Northern States Power Company, she decided to try corporate communications herself. Never a dull moment at NSP where she was part of an in-house agency supporting every department from employee communications, to consumer safety, coal and nuclear plant operations, finance, executive communications and gas/electric marketing where she wrote, edited and managed print publications for more than half of her 30+ years at NSP, now Xcel Energy.

Meanwhile, one of her younger sisters was diagnosed with MS when she was 18 and a senior in high school. She went to UW-Stout on a path toward the competitive world of retail merchandizing. However, her MS changed all that and she became a marketing manager at Courage Center, now Courage Kenny Rehabilitation. When she became an active volunteer/fundraiser at the Minnesota MS Society, Kay joined their board of directors for 15 years. When an opening came up on the Access Press board of directors, Kay joined Tim Benjamin and his “newsroom” supporting journalism and the disability community.

Kay lives in St. Paul with her retired newspaper graphic designer husband in a 120-year-old house full of art pottery, mid-century collectibles and inherited antiques. Her farm girl background makes her the perfect partner for garden projects – always ready to weed and dig in the dirt. She relaxes playing piano and reed organ, coloring mandalas, searching genealogy records, walking two Yorkies, reading novels for book club and assisting her sister, one of four, with her projects.

Staff Leadership

Jane McClure, Editor

Jane McClure is the longtime editor at Access Press, although her involvement with the paper goes back to the 1990s when founding Editor Charlie Smith was transitioning the paper from for-profit to nonprofit status. Jane was on the board of the Twin Cities Neighborhood and Community Press Association, which worked with Access Press staff and its first board on the transition. 

Jane has worked for newspapers since age 12, and in 2021 received a 50-year award from the Minnesota Newspaper Association. She has worked for daily and weekly newspapers in Iowa and Minnesota during her career. She has won several Minnesota Newspaper Association (MNA) and Neighborhood and Community Press Association writing, editing and photography awards, including a General Excellence Award when she was interim editor of the Washington County Bulletin. Before starting at Access Press, she edited newspapers in St. Paul’s North End and Frogtown neighborhoods.  Jane has served on the Minnesota Joint Media Law Committee and is a longtime volunteer at the Minnesota State Fair Newspaper Museum. She is active at Hamline Church United Methodist in St. Paul and lives in Macalester-Groveland neighborhood there. She and her partner Patrick are Saints baseball fans. Jane lives with multiple disabilities and brings that shared experience to her work as the newspaper editor.